From The New Yorker, Alex Ross on how the classical concert took shape. Justin Raimondo on the real conservativism on TV. The establishment outsider: An interview with Roger Scruton. The Russian city of Voronezh, a place seemingly cut off from the world during Gorbachev’s perestroika reforms, is now an urban centre, even if its streets are still named after Lenin, Marx and Engels. From New Statesman, a review of A History of Political Trials from Charles I to Saddam Hussein by John Laughland (and more). When the military takes power: The coup d'etat has been a staple of history; its modus operandi and results are all too consistent. A review of The Rise of the Global Imaginary: Political Ideologies from the French Revolution to the Global War on Terror by Manfred B. Steger. From New Humanist, AC Grayling dissects a new defence of Intelligent Design (and a reply by Steve Fuller and a response by Grayling); a review of The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life by Austin Dacey; and what lies beneath: Even godless humanism needs a sense of the spiritual. From Big Think, sexologist Michael Perelman on the technical side of porn on the Web. Can young people actually make a difference this year? A review of (Not) Keeping Up With Our Parents: The Decline of the Professional Middle Class by Nan Mooney.

From The New Yorker, Claudia Roth Pierpont on Florentine Niccolo Machiavelli, the man who taught rulers how to rule. American Revolutionary: Quiet Boston scholar Gene Sharp inspires rebels around the world. An article on the blessings and curses of military life. From TNR, Benny Morris reviews The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History; and Icon of Evil: Hitler's Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam by David G. Dalin and John F. Rothmann. Naomi Wolf on veiled sexuality: When a woman in France or Britain chooses a veil, it is not necessarily a sign of her repression. A look at how a topless pinup girl climbed to the pinnacle of celebrity in England while remaining utterly unknown in the United States. Kevin Smith explains how he got the imaginary poo and fake sex in "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" past those dirty minds at the MPAA. From Cato Unbound, Earth and Fire Erowid on a culture of responsible psychoactive drug use. From Culture11, Welcome to Gawkerland: A gossip site invents an imaginary Manhattan; and conscientious objector: Playing referee in the culture wars. From Smithsonian, an article on ten of the most incredible art heists of the modern era. A review of Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Mark Richardson. From Slate, a special issue on old people.

From The Atlantic Monthly, can Obama rally the young, is McCain still a maverick, are the Clintons finished? Here are challenges to the assumptions that have shaped the campaign; and can Republicans find a way to compete on the Web? Reihan Salam wants to know. From n+1, over my dead body: Mark Greif on political theology of the GOP. Shankar Vedantam on 9/11, Iraq and the desensitization of the victimized. Johann Hari on how to tune in to both Muslims and the Deep South. How the religious right is trying to ruin sex for everyone: An excerpt from Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics by Dagmar Herzog. CNN actually does have the best political news team on television — God help us. From Slate, here's a reader's guide to Bob Woodward's The War Within. Does it matter if controversial military columnist Gary Brecher, author of War Nerd, is really an overweight data-entry clerk from Fresno? From The Space Review, an article on market romanticism and the outlook for private space development. From the Brown Journal of World Affairs, a special section on space politics. From Seed, astrobiologist Jill Tarter and game developer Will Wright discuss model-making, the singularity, and the value of scientific revolutions. Brian Grene on the origins of the universe: A crash course. 

From FT, marketing a product is an endlessly curious act; it is crucial to capitalism, and its practitioners are highly rewarded and disdained; pornographic collages of dignitaries may seem a detour, but for Jonathan Yeo, dipping a toe in the contemporary art world is worth the risk; a review of The Fundamental Index: A Better Way to Invest by Robert Arnott, Jason Hsu and John West; and does the return of the miniskirt suggest an uptrend to the American economy? Peter Wilby on the myth of the super-rich: Most of our tycoons are not wealth creators, but wealth drainers. If Obama loses, could it be because of anything other than race? Randall Kennedy on The Big "What If": The hopes of black America ride on his shoulders, but the outcome's way up in the air. A look at the 5 myths about Oprah, Obama and you. What's the matter with Canada? How the world's nicest country turned mean. Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez is lost in cyberspace. In country after country, democratic reforms are in retreat — the surprising culprit: the middle class. More and more and more and more and more on Thomas Friedman's Hot, Flat, and Crowded. Doubting Dawkins: A review of Between the Monster and the Saint: Reflections on the Human Condition by Richard Holloway. A review of The Proof of God: The Debate That Shaped Modern Belief by Larry Witham. 

From World Politics Review, reporting the Georgian war: Is Bernard-Henri Levy a fabulist? A review of BHL's Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism (and more and more and more). Timothy Garton Ash on friends of liberal international order facing a new global disorder; and not a new order: Parag Khanna on the new middle ages. From The New Yorker, a look at the complicated death of a 9/11 hero. From Esquire, an article on the photograph of 9/11's Falling Man, the story behind it, and the search for the man pictured in it; and what's taking so damn long to build the Freedom Tower, and what will it mean when we're all dead? Foreign Policy asks experts to tell how to catch Osama Bin Laden. Have we ever faced an enemy more stupid than Muslim terrorists? "Follow God, work and provoke no one": That’s the philosophy of a unique Muslim sect. No we can't: A review of Party of Defeat: How Democrats and Radicals Undermined America’s War on Terror Before and After 9-11 by David Horowitz and Ben Johnson. A look at how the Satanic Verses episode changed the landscape of Muslim society in Britain. From Intelligent Life, Tariq Ramadan on freedoms lost and gained. From Jewcy, an article on Richard Wagner, an anti-Semite to love. Niall Ferguson reviews books on the Nazi empire, the least successful piece of colonisation ever seen.

From New York, have we reached the end of book publishing as we know it? Attack of the Megalisters: These days, the used-book business seems to be less about connoisseurship than about database management. "Why Real Estate Won't Go Bust", and other book-title bloopers. From The Independent, can intelligent literature survive in the digital age? Prospero's Island: Shakespeare's classic set two hours from Boston? Scott McLemee scours the books to find out. After more than a decade as Czech president, Vaclav Havel has returned to writing plays; has his artistic vision survived the compromises of power? Guru Papers: An article on the rise and fall of a Swedish little magazine in the 1970s. LOL, OIC, and WTF at ROFLThing: Meet the latest academic discipline and realm for cultural criticism: Internet culture studies. The guys behind social trendcasting site Edopter want to know how, exactly, something becomes popular, but they need you to do it; can they build the Wikipedia of trends? From Edge, Nassim Nicholas Taleb on The Fourth Quadrant: A map of the limits of statistics. From THES, a review of Between Naturalism and Religion: Philosophical Essays by Jurgen Habermas; and Raymond Geuss foresees a future of strict controls or war over resources. From ResetDOC, a look at when soccer divides people. Cities are being swept up in a wave of inane pranks.

People whose resumes overlap with the presidential candidates’ explain how their jobs would come in handy in the White House. From Democracy, why it matters whom the president hires: A review of The Politics of Presidential Appointments: Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance by David Lewis; and is the golden age of political consulting over? A review of Alpha Dogs: The Americans Who Turned Political Spin into a Global Business by James Harding. In search of rational voters: Do such creatures exist, and how can we mint more of them? In an information-saturated era that has supposedly made us ever more sophisticated, why does blatant and manipulative political imagery continue to work? Shankar Vedantam on the power of political misinformation. Thomas Friedman on making America stupid. Lee Siegel on the triumph of culture over politics. Letters from Wasilla: Anne Kilkennyn on the Sarah Palin she knew. Femocracy ’08: Sisterhood is powerful, but Palin has fried the circuits of post-Clinton feminists. Why McCain should put Palin on the Supreme Court. What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick — a theocrat is a theocrat, whether Muslim or Christian. What it would be like if all women lived in Sarah Palin's America. Conor Clarke writes in defense of elitism: Palin emphasizes her credentials as "just your average hockey mom".

Xabier Arzoz (EHU): The Nature of Language Rights. I married a Maori: A review of Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All by Christina Thompson. A review of Save The Males: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care by Kathleen Parker. A review of The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People. The joy of abstinence: A humorous blog and a conservative think tank on the benefits of not having sex. From TNR, Bushed: David Greenberg on how neocons made liberals wary of idealism; Katherine Marsh on the working mothers' case against Sarah Palin; and Jason Zengerle on the strange resurrection of John Kerry. From Slate, McCain and Palin are running against a new opponent: federal spending; and lies, damned lies, and Barack Obama: Why isn't Obama stretching the truth more often? What will Rumsfeld write? The former secretary of defense is writing a history of the Iraq War. A review of Andrew Cockburn's Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy. Partner or master? Vernor Vinge has been urging his fellow humans to get smarter by collaborating with computers. A review of A New Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations by Clive Ponting. The North Pole has become an island for the first time in human history as climate change has made it possible to circumnavigate the Arctic ice cap.

From the latest issue of The Atlantic Monthly, all counterinsurgency is local: Prosecuting the war in Afghanistan from provincial capitals has been disastrous — we need to turn our military strategy inside out; and Andrew Bacevich on The Petraeus Doctrine: Iraq-style counterinsurgency is fast becoming the U.S. Army’s organizing principle — is our military preparing to fight the next war, or the last one? Drew Westen on what Obama needs to do in the final sixty days: Avoiding President Palin. An article on Rachel Maddow, cable talk's newest star. As barriers disappear, some gender gaps widen. From TLS, Peter Singer reviews Ethics and the Environment by Dale Jamieson; Auden not our contemporary: Sean O'Brien on how the serious, reasonable prose of a dead poet shames the living. From Literary Review, books maketh the man: A review of Oscar's Books by Thomas Wright; and a review of The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War by Alexander Waugh. From The Philosophers' Magazine, Havi Carel on the problem of organ donation: People are dying while we argue about the wrong thing; Giles Fraser has to laugh at the legacy of the Enlightenment or else he'd cry; more on Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture by Alan Sokal; and a look at the university students who are going back to school in Sheffield.

From the new magazine The Clarion Review, Peter Augustine Lawler on aging, individualism and our middle-class dreams; an essay on the iconographic fiction and Christian humanism of Flannery O'Connor; an interview with Roger Scruton; Jesus, the Libertarian: A review of Turn Neither to the Right Nor to the Left: A Thinking Christian’s Guide to Politics and Public Policy by Eric D. Schansberg; Homo economus Christianus: A review of Third Ways: How Bulgarian Greens, Swedish Housewives, and Beer-Swilling Englishmen Created Family-Centered Economies — And Why They Disappeared by Allan C. Carlson. Here's The Atlantic Monthly's presidential election campaign supplement, including interviews with five historians and political scientists on which presidential election this one most resembles. Rivka Galchen reviews The Only Son by Stephane Audeguy. After a century, a literary reputation finally blooms: Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis has gone from being a fringe figure in the English-speaking world to a literary favorite hailed as an unjustly-neglected Brazilian genius. More on David Lebedoff's The Same Man: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh in Love and War. Jed Perl on The Man Who Remade the Met: Unlike most modern museum directors, Philippe de Montebello trusted the public to embrace his high standards — and it did.